We're facing a $1.85 million challenge!

Strengthen and repair marriages

We're facing a significant $1.85 million challenge to launch The Thriving Marriage Project to strengthen and repair hundreds of thousands of marriages. Will you help now?

Thank you for your support.
Check your inbox soon for more information.

Continue to

Little Toot

This adventure by Hardie Gramatky is published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group and is written for kids ages 4 to 8. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

Little Toot the tugboat hates the job of pulling ships down the ocean; the wild seas scare him, and he prefers to spend his time making figure eights in the water. When some of the other boats tease him for his frivolity, Little Toot sails off to sulk. He decides to do better at his job, but no one will give him a chance to prove he can change. Then he sees an ocean liner stranded in a storm and is able to signal the other tugs with his smoke — but only he can get over the waves to save the ship. The experience changes him, and he begins to work much harder.

Christian Beliefs


Authority Roles

Big Toot, Little Toot’s father, is a hard-working boat — the biggest, fastest and smokiest tugboat on the river. Both he and Grandfather Toot rush to the rescue when they see Little Toot’s SOS. Grandfather Toot, an old sea dog, tells stories of his mighty deeds; he is equally proud to broadcast his grandson’s success when Little Toot rescues the ocean liner.

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence






Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • Little Toot's bravery and seriousness saved the ocean liner.
    What might have happened to the liner if Little Toot had responded with his usual fear or idleness when he saw that the other boat was in trouble?
  • How might other people be affected if you behave in a lazy or fearful way?
    (Or, why is it important that everyone "does his part"?)
  • What is one mistake or bad choice that you have made?
  • How can you prove to others that you can do or act better?

Note: Written in 1939, Little Toot became a Library of Congress children’s classic with five sequels.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

  1. {{ footnote.fullText }}

You Might Also Like: